Letters to the Editor: April 7, 2023

A mission unheeded

After reading about the county parks board in Tuesday’s News-Register (“Members of county parks board speak out”), it seems to me that the members of our county board of commissioners do not agree with the purpose of Yamhill County parks. According to the mission statement, “Yamhill County Parks are unique natural, cultural, and historic places to be managed, preserved, and restored for people to enjoy outdoor recreation and educational activities.”

In filling vacancies on the parks board, the commissioners ignored the board’s recommendations and instead appointed several political allies, including Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer’s husband, former Commissioner Kathy George’s daughter, a major donor to Berschauer’s campaign, and a Republican precinct committee member. According to the article, the appointees include one who admitted being unable to attend monthly meetings, another who believes working in agribusiness constitutes expertise in managing parks, and a third who was not even able to appear for an interview.

The appointees appear to have spent little time using any of Yamhill County’s 17 parks. One didn’t even know Yamhill County had parks!

To make matters worse, the appointees are reported to be against improving or expanding the county’s parks. Their only suggestion for increasing accessibility was to add signs in Spanish.

Given that the commissioners’ actions resulted in the resignation of the board’s only bilingual member, that minor improvement seems unlikely to be implemented anytime soon.

I hope the appointees agree with the mission statement of the parks department. However, since the commissioners apparently don’t value the parks as places that need to be “managed, preserved, and restored,” I find it hard to believe that their appointees will either.

Adrianne Santina



Leftist bigot

I read the guest commentary article, “America facing clash between democracy, dictatorship,” authored by Tom Hastings from Portland State University.

His specialty is supposed to be conflict resolution, but his article is oxymoronic. It does everything but encourage peaceful resolution of conflict.

He inadvertently portrays himself as an angry bigot who has nothing but disdain for white Anglo-Saxon men, especially our Founding Fathers. He totally disregards historical perspective when cataloging this nation’s “sins” of the past.

His lack of historical accuracy is on parade. The worst example comes when he references participants in the Jan. 6 “insurrection” as “ruthless, killing a few but hunting more they did not find.”

Perhaps he should spend his time encouraging conflict resolution for the activist leftists who forcibly thwart free speech on college campuses today. Censorship and stifling of First Amendment rights get a pass if the dialog doesn’t agree with the leftist mobs.

Hastings needs to re-examine who it is that’s actually standing up for freedom and the rule of law.

Steve Sommerfeld



There for us

We need a safer McMinnville.

As a lifelong resident of McMinnville, and current resident of the McMinnville Rural Fire Protection District, I have seen a lot of growth in this town.

I have seen first-hand, and from many others I interact with on a weekly basis, that our emergency services have failed to keep up. Our city has not planned and built a fire and EMS service able to meet the needs now facing our community.

Our first responders answered more than 9600 calls for service last year, and will likely exceed that this year. They had to call for a neighboring ambulance from Newberg, Sheridan or even further for assistance with more than 600 of those calls.

We have seen historically large fires in town, including the fires ravaging the creamery and the apartment complex off Baker and Handley, where fire suppression efforts suffered from excessive delay due to inadequate staffing and high call volume. This is unacceptable!

I know this means I will have a tax increase, and nobody looks forward to that. I also know that there are issues to address with the city in regards to the utility fees and ongoing tax authority of the current $1.50 per thousand of assessed value.

I believe these issues are separate from the proper funding of the fire department. We can address these with city council. We can engage them at council meetings and hold our councilors accountable at the ballot box.

Our firefighters and paramedics are always there for us. They are asking us to help them for once.

I urge you to join me in voting yes on 36-226 and 36-227 in the May 16 balloting.

Brandon Malloy



Rail the future

I am writing to express my concern regarding lack of progress on the Yamhelas Westsider Trail.

I have been a practicing engineer and surveyor, specializing in urban development, for 50 years. So I have lived through and participated in the birth and maturity of Oregon’s land use system.

I have seen traffic jams on Highway 99W extend from Portland to Tigard, then on down to Sherwood, Rex Hill and Newberg, and now to the split of Highways 18 and 99W at the weigh station just before Dayton and Lafayette.

Subdivisions in all communities have extended into farmland. As a result, our highways are clogged with people sitting in large gas-guzzling vehicles waiting for movement. We are wasting fossil fuels and our climate is warming.

In the 1920s, my father likely took the train from Fort Hill to Oregon State. Now the track sits idle.

We can’t even decide to restore the Yamhelas trail to a paved pathway, much less restore commuter rail traffic. We think that light rail is a villain, that the future of humanity is a three-bedroom house on a large lot with a two-car garage on a wide street in a subdivision.

What a lack of foresight. What a tragedy.

If you travel to other countries, or even other parts of the United States, trolleys, light rail, commuter rail and subways are common and effective. It’s unfathomable to think that sitting in traffic with a gas-guzzling 3,000-pound vehicle with one person in it is effective.

Sadly, our land use system has accomplished exactly what it was designed to prevent.

We need to bring rail back to Yamhill County. The rights-of-way are there, as are some of the tracks.

We just need the political will and leaders who plan for the future. Restore westsider trail now.

Leonard A. Rydell



Helping our vets

Veterans and their families are more at risk for food insecurity than the general population.

Estimates from the Department of Veterans Affairs and other government agencies on the rate of food insecurity among veterans range from 6% to 24%, based on data collected before the pandemic. Higher rates have been reported among certain high-risk subgroups, based on Iraq and Afghanistan service (27%), female gender (28%), and affliction with serious mental illness (35%) and homeless or formerly homeless status (49%).

For many affected veterans and their families, food insecurity leads to poor health outcomes. Those outcomes include diabetes, depression, congestive heart failure, hypertension, obesity and reduced cognitive function.

I would like to thank the Military Service Organization and Veterans Service Organization for all they do for military veterans, active-duty personnel and families. As food insecurity among veterans grows, Disabled American Veterans chapters are also providing assistance to supplement Veterans Affairs intervention

Finally, let me offer a big thank you to all who give from the heart to the local YCAP food Bank, or any other one in Yamhill County, to assist our citizens in need — including our veterans.

Kathleen Harris



Web Design and Web Development by Buildable